Life Lessons, Kindergarten Style

by Christina Lombardi

by Kathy Cassidy

The first month of kindergarten is almost over and as my five-year-old exchanges tank tops for leggings and a fur-lined hoodie, she’s already learned some life lessons that will carry her to adulthood if she remembers to apply them.

You may be familiar with the title, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten,” by Robert Fulghum. (Not remembering his title, I typed “all I needed” into Google and it popped up; he’s obviously onto something because he’s still that popular over 20 years later!) Fulghum gives tips for getting along in life by adopting rules meant for the average kindergartner. His, “Don’t hit your friends,” advice contains more meaning than its literal translation.

Here are some life lessons I’ve discovered from my little girl’s first month in elementary school:

Make A Daily Pledge: Rissy’s classmates don’t just recite the Pledge of Allegiance (which I’m glad to hear is still in vogue), they make a school pledge during morning announcements as well. They remind each other to be their best by being respectful, responsible and ready. Maybe we should take a similar oath before we start our day. “I pledge to remain calm when I’m stuck in traffic and late to pick up the kids.” Or, “I promise to be responsible and bring my own pen to the staff meeting so I don’t pester the person next to me for a spare.” And, “I pledge to keep a positive attitude when an urgent deadline hits my desk first thing in the morning—before my coffee pod has time to pass through the Keurig.” Be ready. Anticipate. Adjust your attitude before it gets out of whack and keep those toxic negative emotions at bay.

Take Frequent Breaks: In Mrs. K’s kindergarten class, the students get up to dance or sing every 20 minutes. Your office cubemates may not appreciate your serenades, but the reminder to step away from your desk is a healthy one. News stories talk about the dangers of sitting for long periods. Some go so far as to link sedentary office work to the health risks of a smoker. Whether you believe the more extreme claims or not, taking frequent breaks does get the blood flowing, reduces eye strain, may whittle your middle and even keep cholesterol levels in check. Now for your first assignment: when you’re finished reading this blog post, get up and rinse out that coffee mug.

Friday Folders: When I open the Garnet Hill pony backpack on Fridays, the teacher has prepared a folder containing the projects which Rissy accomplished during the week. Hey, I can apply this one too! If you’re anything like me, I tend to focus on the areas I need to improve rather than on my accomplishments. Next time I pull out Rissy’s folder, I’ll scroll through my own positives. Let’s see…I walked across campus to hand deliver a poster to a co-worker (demonstrating not only courtesy but keeping Mrs. K’s “frequent breaks” policy alive). I kept a smile on my face when Rissy’s play date spilled his drink all over my hardwood floors. I cleaned out my inbox (both literal and virtual) to make sure I didn’t leave anyone in limbo. Oh, and I ordered clothes for the kids to look stylish on a budget this fall. Nothing earth shattering but the list did make me feel good. If you’re looking for ways to improve your own self-reflection skills, check out this great blog post.

This last Kindergarten lesson is more humorous than anything else, but I’m sure there’s a life lesson in it somewhere:

” Mrs. K said it’s okay to wear jewelry to school, just as long as we don’t suck on it.”


Christina Lombardi is the Publications Manager for Howard County General Hospital and has just sent her first child off to school.